Makeup Wars: Travel Beauty

Beauty Blogger Packing

I’m taking part in something fun with a few of my fellow beauty bloggers: Makeup Wars! It feature coordinated posts from great beauty bloggers like 15 Minute Beauty, Phyrra and Beauty 411, and all of the posts take place around a similar theme. It makes sense that the girls asked me to take part this week, because the subject is near and dear to my heart: travel beauty!

[Last year, I used my passport 7 times. Can you believe it? This year, my travel is restricted to weddings: 6 of my friends are getting married, including one on Lake Como in Italy, which promises to be gorgeous. In a parallel universe, by the way, I’m in Australia right now–but the trend for 2013 seems to be turning down amazing press trips, which just kills me. Work to do, money to make, you know how it goes.]

2 weeks abroad? Polo matches? Fancy dinners? Bring it!

I pride myself on traveling light and being a ridiculously low-maintenance traveler (especially considering I’m such a high-maintenance person!). Unless I’m going somewhere fancy like a wedding where ex-boyfriends and photographers will feature prominently, I absolutely refuse to check bags while traveling. My all-time packing triumph remains the time I went to England for two weeks and only packed this:

With absurd TSA restrictions in place (I mean, really, TSA? My 3 ounce bottle of Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer is going to help take down the plane?!), not to mention airlines struggling for revenue, you basically have two options: learn how to pack light, or pay through the nose to check a bag. Obviously, I opt for the former. Plus, packing everything in a carry-on gets you off the plane and to your destination more quickly. Hooray for not dealing with long lines and lost bags!

I couldn't get away with not checking bags when I spent 3 weeks in New Zealand during the winter, alas. It felt like a personal failing.

So, here are my Jolie Rules for Traveling Light:

1) Leave the hairdryer at home: Anywhere you go is pretty much guaranteed to have a hairdryer, whether it’s a friend’s house or a hotel, so unless you’re traveling to the jungle or a Motel 6, no need to lug the giant T3 Featherweight. I look at travel as an opportunity to explore “creative” hairstyles: pigtails! Buns! Air-drying! Braids!

2) But bring styling tools: When you’re traveling, hair powder and hats should be your best friend–but if you’re really dying to do something fancy to your hair, bring a curling iron or a flatiron. They’re smaller and lighter than hairdryers, and as long as you have styling product, you’ll be able to make something work. Don’t forget to bring a brush!

3) Fill mini bottles with your favorite products: The drugstore sells a variety of empty mini plastic bottles which you can fill with all your essentials, like cleanser, eye makeup remover, sunscreen, conditioner and body lotion, all of which will fit into a Ziploc baggie. No need to choose between your favorites–bring them all!

4) Buy products at your destination: If you’re going abroad, it’s fun to shop locally at your destination. You might discover an amazing face cream or conditioner that’s not available in the States. Yes, this might mean that you need to check on the way home, but isn’t a glamorous French perfume worth it?

5) Stockpile samples before your trip: I keep a bag crammed with all the samples that I hoard like a crazy lazy throughout the year. It’s chock full of face serums, conditioners, exfoliators, cleansers, perfume, you name it. You’d be surprised by the number of excellent brands (like Fresh, Kiehls, Estee Lauder, Tom Ford, etc) which give out samples of their products at their freestanding stores and department store beauty counters. Just ask! And then, when you travel, you’ll have a stash of samples you can choose from. Most samples will last you two days, so pack accordingly.

Obviously, there are always exceptions to the rule–and likely so many tips I’m forgetting–so I’d love to hear from you if you have any travel beauty questions or tips of your own!

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  1. I can’t stop staring at your 2 weeks abroad pic. You need to come here and teach me how to pack – stat. Amazing! I’m also jealous of the workout your passport gets. Italy is a dream!

  2. Great advice, Nadine! I really need to buy a ton of those small bottles and just keep them filled with products I use over and over.

  3. I love buying products where I go, whether I need them or not. It’s always a reminder of when you were there, too.

  4. I love reading travel packing trips from seasoned travelers!!! Your tips are great!!! Stockpiling sample packets is such a great tip. I do that too and then you just toss them as you use them (and feel like you are returning traveling “lighter”). So glad you joined us in this makeup war!!!

  5. I’m all about stockpiling the samples and throwing them in a box til I go somewhere–and then it’s fun because it’s a chance to try some new things! And seriously? 7 times with that passport–I’m jealous!

  6. I really should start saving all of those samples that seem to clutter my makeup bag. Good idea!

  7. I have to break your rule number one – my hair won’t dry without a good hairdryer. It’s depressing to lug my heavy Elchim everywhere but I haven’t found a travel one that works.
    I’m sure we’re all envious of your travels. A wedding at Lake Como in Italy means dreams of seeing George Clooney. I’d have to pack extra just for that.

  8. I can personally atest to your light packing! I was shocked how little you brought when we were in Paris. I aim to some day be able to do that. In the meantime, I’m checking a 50 lb bag of nothing but creams and eye shadow…